Cathy Lace has dedicated her career to advancing equity issues, both for her clients and within the profession.
As a leader in the field of pay equity law, Cathy has represented clients fighting for equal pay for work of equal value in many different workplaces. She has also been a tireless defender of the rights of employees and professionals facing discrimination in its many forms. She has also spent countless hours educating union representatives and members of the legal profession on these areas of law, including workplace harassment and violence, employment discrimination and the duty to accommodate.
As one of only a handful of lawyers with expertise in university labour relations, Cathy represents numerous faculty associations in grievance arbitration, labour relations board and internal university proceedings. This includes issues involving tenure and promotion, academic freedom, research ethics and discipline, as well as issues of significance to medical faculty members and residents. Cathy also frequently advises faculty associations on the negotiation of their collective agreements and the resolution of their disputes at interest arbitration.
Cathy’s mark on university labour relations has been significant. As one university faculty association representative put it, “Without Cathy’s astute judgments, deliberative skills and creativity, many women faculty would not have the careers they have today. Her advice to the association has been key in achieving dozens of settlements and/or in preventing formal grievances in the first instance.”
Cathy has also been a champion of women lawyers in our firm. As the first and, for many years, the only female partner in a firm that now has more female than male partners, Cathy spearheaded the development of progressive maternity and parental leave policies to keep younger women in the firm and in the profession. At a time when many firms did not have maternity leave policies, Cathy was a resource person for other lawyers in Toronto. Today, our progressive maternity and parental leave policy is a model for the profession, in no small part due to Cathy’s consistent and strong advocacy in this area.
As a long-time supporter of Amnesty International, Cathy organizes our firm’s annual write-a-thon, which gives us all an opportunity to speak out against some of the worst human rights abuses around the world.
Off the clock, Cathy is a voracious reader and pursues a number of artistic endeavours, including playing the flute and attending modern dance performances.